Community Engagement Group

The Community Engagement Group is comprised of community members who are committed to working hand-in-hand with Unit 4 to build a stronger relationship with the African American community and our public schools. The group aims to promote transparency and awareness of the efforts and initiatives in the District that directly impact African American students and families within our community. Participants of this committee discussed these initiatives with district leadership and developed four areas of focus to positively impact African American student achievement and promote authentic school-family relationships.

I hope everyone is having a great day.  We are closing in on our first CEG meeting of the year.  The meeting location has changed as well as the focus.  Please see the changes and agenda items below.
Date: Thursday, October 20th, 2016
Time:  6:00-7:00 PM
Dinner:  5:30-6:00PM
Location: The Church of the Living God (The Love Corner) 312 E. Bradley (North Building)
Food Provided By: CC Kitchen (Chef Curtis)

ANNOUNCEMENT:  I am extremely pleased to announce that we will be introducing two new members to the group.  I am excited about what these two individuals will bring to the Group and to our Community.  A third person, who I already informed you about from Parkland College, Dr. Willie Fowler.
Dr. Gianina Baker - Current BOE Member
Senior Bishop Lloyd Gwin - Pastor of The Church of the Living God
Agenda Items:

5:30 - 6:00 Closed Dinner Meeting with CEG
6:00 - 6:30 Open to Public:  Community Schools Initiative Presentation (Tony Maltbia)
6:30 - 7:30 Open to Public:  Referendum Informational and Q&A (This is for Information purposes ONLY. It will not be political in nature)  

I look forward to continuing our work for the kids in our community.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  See you soon!

CEG's 4 Student Achievement Initiatives:

  • Parent and Student Advocacy - Navigating the school system
  • Enhance and grow staff capacity and increase diverse workforce
  • Early Childhood Literacy Efforts
  • ACT-Honors and AP-Test Prep-College Readiness-Early Counseling

Three Ways to Contribute to Community Initiatives in Progress:

  1. Hands On: Committee in Action (start your own initiative or add value to one in progress)
  2. In-Kind: Provide resources for initiatives (hosting events, sponsoring workshops, etc.)
  3. Advisory/Advocacy: (advice, advocate, and provide feedback on district initiatives)

Executive Director of Student, Family, and Community Support:

First, I would like to share the exciting news that I will be moving on from my current position at Novak Academy to become the Executive Director of Students, Family, and Community Supports for Champaign Unit #4.  The BOE and the District strengthened their commitment to our students and families with this position and moving us toward the Community Schools movement.   I am overjoyed with the opportunities that we can provide the students and families through this work!

As we have always stated, we know that we cannot do this by ourselves!  Which doubles down on our desire to build and expand upon our relationship with this stakeholder group.  It is of the utmost importance that we seek your input and have your voice as we shape the structures/supports and develop the goals and indicators for the direction we take.  

It is very important to know, this is not just another initiative and it does not require new money.  The overall goal is to align all the resources that are flowing into our schools and community to unite, for a more targeted and collective impact to help break down the barriers that are restricting students from being able to learn.

Contact us at

ACTIONS Restore Classes:  Please see document on left for more information

Family Kindergarten Readiness Camp 2016:

The mission of the Family Kindergarten Readiness Camp is to help families learn how literacy knowledge and skills along with social emotional skills develop in young children and what they can do to support their child's growth before they begin school in the fall. 

Champaign Camp Dates and Locations

  • Booker T. Washington STEM Academy 606 East Grove St in Champaign

Thursdays 5:30 - 7:30 pm June 9, 16, 23, 30

Urbana Camp Dates and Location

  • Urbana Early Childhood Center 2202 East Washington St in Urbana

Thursdays 5:30 - 7:30 pm June 9, 16, 23, 30 

Patricia Avery is spending the summer contacting Home Daycare Providers in the area of Garden Hills, Stratton, and BTW.  The focus is to inform families of the camp opportunities and to provide curriculum for those who do not get to attend the camps. 

Divine 9 Elementary Reading and Mentoring Program:

We have met and will meet again this summer.  The goal is to coordinate our efforts to make a bigger impact for our students beginning in the fall.  We have a healthy group of Greek organizations that will be participating and it is a breath of fresh air to see the cooperation for our students. 

Community Garden Social Justice Project:  Novak Academy (Chris Schultz- Teacher)

Quarterly Meetings: 

We will discuss the quarterly meetings next year at our first community meeting in September.  We will have our first meeting on September 15th or September 22nd.  The 3rd Thursday has been our running date, but since there are 5 Thursdays in September, I will send out a doodle as we get closer to see which date works best for the group. 

BTW Food Bank:  Yalanda O’Connor

College Prep Readiness: Greg Wilson

St Luke CME Church Food Pantry:  Pat Lewis

Community Engagement Link on the District Website: 

Future Meetings for Collaboration: 

At the request of Joe Stovall, I met with Dr. Love and Dr. Angela Slate, to listen to a potential program that would provide students with STEM competition and activities at the middle school level during before and after school programs.  TBD

Transportation Department Now Hiring
U4 Innovate

Join Our Team